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Old 09-24-04, 09:15 PM   #62
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 1,365
Default Re: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

I don't honestly think that SM 3.0 is actually going to be *that* much of an obvious transitions. It will, in my mind, increase the scale of effects we already see, but it won't actually show much new stuff. I mean.. the majority of things that actually make really cool effects (Deferred Shading, Floating Point Blending for HDR etc..) are 2.0b effects. Bear in mind that I'm not some ATi guy pluggin' their card - I still think that 3.0 is a bit nicer because it's more standardised. A the same time, I don't really see much head room for totally new stuff in SM 3.0. The one big thing I can see being utilised in SM 3.0 is Vertex Tex lookups, but even that's not that major because most models in games are still very low poly count. You need some very highly tesselated models to see anything particularly useful coming out of that.

As I say, I'm not even beginning to suggest that SM 3.0 isn't relevant, merely that instead of introducing wildly showy features, it's going to increase the scale of the sorts of things we can already do. Least, that's what I think.

Edit: Actually, on second thoughts there is an important qualification here: SM 2.0 isn't sufficient on its own for some of the nice stuff I think we need for the next gen of flashyness. In particular you NEED MRTs (Multiple Render Targs) and Floating Point buffer blending - both of which are above the basic 2.0 standard. So maybe the transition will be quite visible, it's just a wee bit innaccurate to describe it as a move from 2 -> 3, where it's more 2 -> 2.0b
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